Earlier this week we began the process of planning for next year at our ministry office.We had some excellent discussion on the back side of planning.By that I mean, not the specifics of what we want to do, but the underlying foundation of what and why we do.The philosophical underpinnings if you will.Our next step this week was to flesh those out a little more by adding the specific “whats” of our ministry (e.g. continuing to grow the base of churches that effectively minister with people with disabilities) and then discern if the programs and services we currently do still fit and/or are there new opportunities God has yet to show us.
And then God upped the ante!
Someone presented an opportunity to us that was not on the radar of any of our team as we talked and planned. It is an opportunity that we had never been able to consider in the past, yet here, seemingly out of nowhere it is! Thankfully our amazing advisors – our Ministry Development Team (MDT) were already scheduled to meet that night.
Discussions among both our staff and our MDT covered lots of territory. One person spoke up and said (my paraphrase, not an exact quote): We are talking about many things that would change, and how we might manage those. That seems premature. We don’t really need to focus first on the how of the opportunity but the what. In other words, Is this what God is calling us to do?
Good insight . . . if we are truly know that God is calling us to do this we can rest assured (even if it means a lot of work) that He will equip and make the way for us to manage the “hows.”
Each of us committed to make this a matter of prayer for several days and then reconvene to see what we each heard from God. I took a walk one morning with God, asking Him to show me His plan. Over and over again my mind kept drifting back to the “hows” of this opportunity. I kept telling God, “but I’ve been asked not to focus on the how’s but listen to You if this is from You!” (Funny how I thought I had to redirect God!!)
As God and I chatted I think I came to the understanding that for me the how and the what are linked. One of my God-given strengths (Strengthsfinders inventory) is execution. I can make a plan happen. God reminded me that He works in and speaks to each of us differently, according to our need. While I can’t set the hows of this opportunity in concrete right now, having some strategies to think through help me as I clarify the question of is God calling us to this. It’s not an either/or.
So here I wait, and pray.
We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9